Run Plex server on PC or NAS given network setup

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Run Plex server on PC or NAS given network setup

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Hello all. First time post.

I’m more of an A/V guy than a computer guy but I’ve done pretty well and I’m happy with my current set up (Plex and network). But I need more storage (and redundancy) so I’m considering buying a NAS. Before I screw things up I’d like to get your thoughts/recommendations, not on what NAS to buy, but on what might be the best change to my set up. Right now I’m running the Plex server on my PC (windows 10, I5 CPU) located in my office on the 2nd story of my house. I’ve got an 8TB hard drive in the PC. The PC is hardwired (CAT 5e) to my router located in my basement, two levels down from the office. The speed to my PC is capped at 100 Mbps download, 12 Mbps upload, even though I get over 200 Mbps from Spectrum. (I’ve been unable to remedy that situation and it’s looking like I need to replace the cable which I’d rather not do but could be done with some expense.) From the router I’m using my existing coax cable and coax adapters to get over 200 Mbps to my Nvidia shield pro in my media room on my main level. I direct stream my content (MKV files of ripped 4K, blu-ray and regular dvd movies and concerts) with little to no buffering (except for one rip - Clapton’s latest 4K blu-ray, Lady in the Balcony, which buffers every 20 seconds – hmmm???).

So I’m thinking to buy a NAS (Synology DS1520+ or the DS1621+) and installing it in my basement where the router is.

The questions are: If I buy the NAS do you think running the Plex server on the NAS is the way to go given the higher speed from router to the Shield or should I keep running the Plex server on my PC because of the good CPU in the PC? Will it be easy to try the Plex server on the NAS and then if I’m not happy with the results, migrate back to the Plex server on the PC? How difficult will it be to transfer my existing files from my hard drive in my PC to the NAS? Any other thoughts/suggestions on all of this would be greatly appreciated.
 

Rusty

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Think you first need to get one or two 1G switches. Place them on strategic places in your network and plug your tv, shield, pc, nas etc, into them. Only from those switches should you go with one single cable to your router (towards the internet).

In that case you will maintain your lan speed at 1G and not 100-200Mbits so your overall performance will jump significantly.

Regarding Plex server on the pc or nas. It does depend on your streaming needs. if it’s internal (lan) only and your clients are not transcode dependent, then you can run plex server on the nas without any addition thinking.

However, if you will have need to transcoding I would suggest 1520+ model over 1621. Simply because 1520 has an intel cpu with quick sync on board so with Plex pass you can unlock hw transcoding feature that does not work on 1621.

Regarding migration there is no need to have data and plex server on the same device ( but you can ofc), so it will be up to you to decide where to keep it all.

Migration of the plex server instance is officially supported by Plex KB articles.
 
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I personally run Emby and recently started tinkering with Plex. My setup does not require transcoding, so I direct stream everything, but since most people will probably require transcoding at some point, and if your windows pc is always on anyway, I dont see any reason to transfer your plex server to the nas? My setup is similar in that I have a always on pc (have had it that way for years) and even if I had my media servers on the nas, the pc would still be so I didnt see the advantage or moving anything.

Your pc will most likely be more powerful than your nas in the grand scheme of things.

Based on your OP, are you saying your lan isnt getting its full speed based on the cabling or you have a non compliant switch somewhere slowing down you lan speeds? from pc to pc on lan you should get really close to maxing out net traffic speeds of whatever the slowest switch is between the 2 points? beit 1gbe or whatever... if your cat 5e, I assume your network should be 1gbe 1000mbit ? right? if your not getting that, make sure wherever your switches are connecting everything is configured correcty. I am running 1gbe lan in a 2 story house and I can get that from the 2 furthest points hard wired via ethernet.
 
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Thanks so much for the responses. The top speed that I am paying for, from Spectrum, my isp, is 250 mbps. I don't use any switches, just ethernet from router to pc and ethernet from router to shield via MoCA adapters and coax. The shield measures speed at 250. The best speed that I measure on the PC is 100, due to, I presume, a faulty cat5e cable. Currently I don't have any playback issues except for the one that I mentioned. So I don't see a need to upgrade and pay for 1 gbps speed from Spectrum.
Based on the responses I think I'll migrate the plex server and my content to the new nas. I don't think I will need to transcode but just in case I will most likely go with the DS1520+. If playback degrades, I'll go back to running the plex server on the pc but keep my content on the nas.
 
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Rusty

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You are mixing isp speeds with lan speeds. Nobody is taking about your isp speeds. Considering that you have no 1G switches but are connecting to your isp router the problem there is that those ports might be 100Mbit only, or you indeed have a faulty cable (enough for 1 wire to be problematic out of those 8 and you will drop from 1G to 100Mbit).

What was suggested was not to upgrade your isp speeds to 1G (because that would for sure require some more hw updates here and there), but rather to connect your devices to a 1G capable switch before going to the router from that same switch.

This way you will have your lan isolated from the isp router and 100M speeds (assuming your cables are in order for 1G) and you should be good to go with faster LAN speeds. Isp speed will still max out at 200-250M.
 
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OMG. With all my research I can't believe I didn't know this. Now that I think about it I have wondered why people used a switch when the router has multiple Ethernet ports. 0k, next upgrade is to buy a switch. Anything specific to look for when buying a switch?
 
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And just to confirm, from modem to router to switch. Then connect devices (Nvidia shield and PC) to switch.
 
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OK I've installed two switches. So I'm still only getting only 100 Mbps of ISP speed to my PC. If my PC is capping this ISP speed at 100, whether it's due to the cable or a setting in the PC, does that mean my LAN speed is capped as well? Any advice on how to measure LAN speed from PC to the Nvidia shield? From the info on the internet it seems much more difficult to do vs measuring the ISP speed. In my media room using the Nvidia shield I played the one 4K rip that I mentioned earlier (Eric Clapton's Lady in the Balcony) and it still was buffering every 20 seconds of so. So as it was playing I checked the playback info and it stated 3840 x 2160 @ 101.6 Mbps. I checked a couple a couple other 4K movies with True HD 7.1 where there is no buffering and the playback info showed a speed of around 50 Mbps. So could the issue be the 101 Mbps of the Clapton rip and the 100 cap of the PC? I backup my all my blu-rays using MakeMKV so I don't know why the Clapton rip playback info speed is twice that other 4K movies. Also do you know if the DS1520+ or the DS1621+ can handle a rip that has a speed of 100 Mbps? Sorry for all the questions. I will make a donation. Thanks for the help.
 
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Rusty

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does that mean my LAN speed is capped as well?
No. LAN speeds have no connection to your WAN (ISP) speeds.

Any advice on how to measure LAN speed from PC to the Nvidia shield?
Unless you can install an app like iperf3 on the shield, or something similar.

So as it was playing I checked the playback info and it stated 3840 x 2160 @ 101.6 Mbps. I checked a couple a couple other 4K movies with True HD 7.1 where there is no buffering and the playback info showed a speed of around 50 Mbps. So could the issue be the 101 Mbps of the Clapton rip and the 100 cap of the PC?
The question now if how is that being streamed to your shield. If its going over the Internet then your outside speed is capping that. But, in LAN that should be 1G over your switches, and it should be just fine. Plex dashboard was presenting it as Direct Play or Transcoded stream?

Also do you know if the DS1520+ or the DS1621+ can handle a rip that has a speed of 100 Mbps?
Ofc it can. The only thing atm that you need to make sure is what "channel" is Plex using to stream this content.

Share an image of your Plex dashboard for that particular stream and lets have a look.
 
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Any device (nvidia shield, NAS, connected clients) on your network that you want 4k UHD playback on needs to be wired to your connected switch - cabling standard must be cat5e. There is a network widget in DSM that can give you realtime connection speeds.

One other thing - I did upgrade to the Shield Pro model after noticing some buffering during 4k UHD playback with HDR and Dolby Atmos after upgrading my receiver last summer. The pro model does have more RAM, which could also be a factor. Kodi has a performance monitor in it that can show you realtime RAM utilization, I'm not sure about Plex.

hope these help..
 
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1648218352839.png
1648218352839.png

-- post merged: --

Here's what it looks like when it buffers:
1648218839966.png
 
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Last edited:
1648219822567.png

-- post merged: --

Another shot that shows buffering:
1648220196547.png
 
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I have the Shield Pro at the ethernet setting it shows 1000 Mbps.
 
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